Koforidua, May 24, GNA- The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has began a five-week public consultations at the regional and district levels to tap public inputs towards the updating of the first phase of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I). Various stakeholders are being consulted by a team of officials from the Commission, as part of a five-day official visit to the Eastern Region.
The consultations would cover five thematic areas involving macro-economic stability and growth, production and gainful employment, human development, good governance, the vulnerable and excluded in society.
In a speech read on his behalf, during the opening of the consultation session in Koforidua on Tuesday, the Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, explained that the major objectives of the GPRS were to ensure macro economic stability, achieve moderate economic growth and reduce poverty to push the country into the middle-income status by 2015.
He said evidence of the success of GPRS I (2003-2005) was characterized by the decline in the Consumer Price Index from 40.5 percent in 2000 to 12.6 per cent in 2004, the fall of the interest and prime rates from 24 per cent in 2003 to 18.5 per cent. He said the Gross Domestic Product grew by an average of five per cent compared to 4.1 percent in the preceding three years and the stable exchange rate of the cedi against the dollar as it depreciated by 2.2 per cent instead of 49.8 per cent in 2000.
Mr Barimah said during the three-year period of the GPRS, Government ensured the increase in access to social services including education, health and safe drinking water while the proportion of the population living below the poverty line declined from 42 per cent in 1997 to 35 per cent.
Mr Winfred Nelson, a Planning Officer of the NDPC said the update of GPRS I was in line with policy initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goal, the New Partnership for African Development, Gender and the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Mrs Mary Impraim, a Senior Planning Officer, hinted that suggestions gathered from the exercise would be incorporated in the next budget statement. GNA